Just by keeping up to date on simple and routine maintenance, you can extend the life of your car. Indeed, as the old saying goes, “If you take good care of your car, it will take care of you.”
These days, most people are happy to drop their vehicle off at the local auto shop and pay a little extra to have the experts take control. However, in the end, you will be forever dependent on mechanics.
And relying on these experts will not only cost you thousands of dollars over time, but also means you probably won’t be able to fix even the tiniest problem in a pinch.
Like anything in life, becoming a pro at car maintenance requires a bit of initiative when it comes to learning and practicing the basics. But really, the most frequently needed treatments are the ones you can easily figure out.
Focus on these three areas, and you’ll quickly become far more independent than you ever thought possible
1. Changing Oil
In order for a car to run properly, it needs good and clean oil. This means you should check it regularly and supplement if necessary based on the dipstick readings. In the past, the rule of thumb for a full oil change was every 3,000 miles.
It has become somewhat outdated considering the efficiency and design of most modern machines. However, you should change your oil every 5,000 miles. (Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for the exact number.)
While our convenience-based society means most people head to the garage to get this done it’s cheaper to do it at home. Doing so can help ensure the best oil goes into your car and no shortcuts are taken.
Best of all, after doing it a few times, you’ll understand better how the car works and be in a better position to keep it running.
2. Changing Tires
Another good way to be self-taught is to change your own tires. All it takes is a jack, a tire iron, good old fashioned elbow grease and a little knowledge. Of course, there are a number of resources online that can teach you this relatively simple process, and learning how to do it will ensure that you’re ready if you have a blast.
The biggest key to ensuring longevity and high performance is buy quality tires. Just check your manual to make sure you are getting the correct size and choose the highest quality brand you can afford. After a new tire has been installed, experts also recommend rotating it every six months to extend its service life and ensure safety.
Due to various factors — such as front-wheel drive or simply turning right — tires can wear at different rates depending on where they are. This way, making regular rotations will help keep it level — and give you a more stable and safe ride.
3. Perform Continuous Maintenance
While optimal fuel, oil, and tires are essential for a car to run properly, there are a wide variety of fluids and other parts that must be maintained. Coolant and windshield wipers should be kept at recommended levels and replaced if necessary.
Other fluids, including transmission fluid and power steering fluid, should also be monitored, although they do not require frequent attention.
Then there are others important parts to wear out, including the windshield wiper blade, air filter, spark plugs, and engine belt. When it comes to DIY maintenance, switching this range from very easy to more sophisticated.
But most people with little inclination to use basic tools can read the manual or watch some videos online and learn how to do it at home.
Do it yourself
While engine or transmission issues are probably best left to the professionals, there’s no reason you can’t do all of these tasks yourself. Honestly, there’s not much to it.
Once you’ve gone through this process a few times, changing the oil, changing tires, and changing other small parts will become a piece of cake.
Best of all, you’ll no longer have to pay someone else extra to do it for you. And nothing feels better than sitting down afterward to savor that sweet feeling of accomplishment and independence.